Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Fein TD Carol Nolan, who represents the party in the Lower Ormond end of the Offaly / Tipperary constituency, has formally resigned from the party over its stance on abortion.
Ms Nolan's decision to quit means she will now be an Independent TD, and reduces Sinn Féin's TD numbers to 22.
In a statement released this afternoon, she said:
In a statement this afternoon, Ms Nolan said:
"I have decided to as of today, June 19, to resign from Sinn Féin. I feel that as a pro-life republican woman that I no longer have a place in this party which doesn't recognise or show genuine respect for the pro-life views of members.
"It was disappointing that at the ard fhéis which took place in Belfast at the weekend, the party's delegates voted against the motion to allow members to have a conscience vote on the issue of abortion. I want to thank all of the 24 cumann who put forward motions on the need for a conscience vote on the abortion issue.
"I feel that it is unethical to force TDs who are strongly opposed to abortion to vote against their conscience. Every TD in Leinster House is directly responsible for the laws that they enact, if a TD votes for abortion they are responsible for all abortions that happen in this state.
"I do not want to have any hand, act or part in bringing about the end to the life of an unborn child, the most vulnerable in our society.
"I cannot and will not support abortion and for that reason I have made a decision to leave Sinn Féin. I want to assure the constituents that I represent in Offaly-North Tipperary that I will continue to work hard on their behalf and that I will continue to represent them as an Independent TD in Dáil Éireann.
"I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank them and my loyal supporters for their relentless support over the past few months."